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Barcelona's Collserola Hills, surrounded by lush greenery, provide a picturesque background to a stunning array of beaches, offering a glimpse into Catalonia's natural splendor. Towards the north, the Pyrenees' hiking trails run along the French border before transitioning into fertile vineyards and countryside, where quaint villages with charming churches dot the landscape. The breathtaking coastline of Costa Brava boasts white sandy beaches, quaint coastal towns, and hidden coves. Inland, medieval towns like Girona, known for its museums, galleries, and Gothic churches, and Figueres, with a rich heritage spanning from Dalí to the Romans, await exploration.

 

Mountains

Setcases, in the heart of the Pyrenees, 4,040 ft above sea level, is a picturesque mountain village by the swiftly flowing Ter River. The ski resort of Vallter 2000, with peaks rising to 9,452 ft, is a 20-minute drive away. The surrounding lush valleys and impossibly pretty villages invite local walks as well as serious hikes as far down as the Costa Brava.

Hotel La Coma is a wholesome, family-run alpine hotel with a cosy restaurant that specialises in Catalan cuisine (we highly recommend the mushroom cannelloni). A favourite with families, sunny days can be spent by the lovely swimming pool. Hiking from here is wonderful – whether it’s gentle rambling or a serious mission. The hotel has a lounge with a fireplace, an intimate spa with a heated pool, a games room, a playground, and activities including pony rides. A seven-night half-board stay costs from £1,485 pp (two sharing), including return flights, 23 kg pp hold luggage allowance, and transfers.

Setcases Setcases
Hotel La Coma, Setcases Hotel La Coma, Setcases

Beach

Palamós prawns are not only the star product of the Costa Brava, but also widely recognised as the best in the world. Vermilion in colour, with an exquisite flavour, they are distinguished from other varieties by their sweeter flavour. Dating from the 13th century, the delightful seaside town of Palamós is alive with fish-related business; both its fishing museum and fish market are worth visiting. Also known for its excellent sandy beaches, it is a centre for watersports and a good base for boat trips.

A 20-minute walk from town, and 150m from the splendid beach of La Fosca, Hotel Ancora is particularly popular with families. Bright and clean, the property is run by a family who welcome guests with great warmth and it has an excellent restaurant which specialises in freshly-caught fish sourced daily, direct from the Palamós Fishery. Within the hotel’s enormous garden, there is a swimming pool and a mini golf course, and bicycles are available to hire. A seven-night B&B stay costs from £813 pp (two sharing), including return flights, 23 kg pp hold luggage allowance, and transfers.

The town of Palafrugell, near Palamós, has what can be classed as three coastal suburb fishing villages - Tamariu, Llafranc and Calella. According to our chairman, Noel Josephides, who used to holiday in Llafranc with his parents in the mid-1960s, the nature of the area has not changed at all. There are no high-rise buildings, the hotels are small, and it remains hidden amongst the forest of pine trees which tumble down to exquisite coves of sand.

Hotel Llafranc dates from 1958 and attracted Hollywood’s best back then, including Rock Hudson, Sophia Loren, Kirk Douglas and Elizabeth Taylor. Still family owned, Adelita continues to cook her signature dishes. The squid ink black rice is outstanding. A seven-night B&B stay costs from £1,011 pp (two sharing), including return flights, 23 kg pp hold luggage allowance, and transfers.

Palamos Palamos
Hotel Ancora, Palamos Hotel Ancora, Palamos
Llafranc de Palafrugell Llafranc de Palafrugell
Hotel Llafranc, Llafranc de Palafrugell Hotel Llafranc, Llafranc de Palafrugell

City

Girona is one Spain’s most exciting and yet unknown cities of myths and legends. Within its extensive medieval city walls, the architectural style is a heady mix of Roman, Carolingian, Moorish, Gothic, Baroque and Modernist. The Onyar River flows through the city and is spanned by several bridges, one of which was built by Gustav Eiffel. The cathedral is magnificent, the narrow streets are lined with interesting shops, and there are three Michelin-starred restaurants, no less, including the very famous El Celler de Can Roca. In Figueres, a 45-minute drive away, the Dalí Museum is a must.

You could not get a more central location than the Hotel Peninsular 1853, a 10-minute walk from the old Jewish centre, and an easy amble from the Onyar River, cafés and restaurants. A seven-night B&B stay costs from £1,059 pp (two sharing), including return flights, 23 kg pp hold luggage allowance, and transfers.

Girona Girona
Hotel Peninsular 1853, Girona Hotel Peninsular 1853, Girona

How about getting to Girona by train? Breakfast in London, lunch in Paris, and dinner in Spain, all possible thanks to Europe's ever-strengthening network of high-speed rail connections. The TGV high-speed Paris to Catalonia connection, at its fastest, takes a mere six hours. Overnight stays in Paris can also be arranged. A seven-night B&B stay costs from £1,293 pp (two sharing), including return train travel from London, and transfers.

Girona Girona

Volcanic craters

Santa Pau is a beautiful medieval village, with 30 volcanic craters nearby. There are many wonderful walks within this Baixa Garrotxa volcanic area. The glorious main square, once an important cattle market, is encircled by colonnaded stone buildings.

Buried in the village’s medieval centre, the four-star Hotel Cal Sastre has only eight bedrooms, and the owner-managers, Eva and Jesus, are real characters. Across the street from the imposing, part-ruined 13th century castle, the hotel has a small swimming pool which is seemingly fused into the ancient walls, and a terrace with views of the Santa Margarita and Puig de Mar volcanoes. The hotel and its excellent restaurant are much-loved by the Barcelona football team, and Pep Guardiola is a frequent visitor. The truffle cannelloni is exceptional, apparently. A seven-night B&B stay costs from £1,318 pp (two sharing), including return flights, 23 kg pp hold luggage allowance, half-board for one night, a day’s hire of an e-bike, and transfers.

Santa Pau Santa Pau
Hotel Cal Sastre, Santa Pau Hotel Cal Sastre, Santa Pau

Bring it all together with a tailor made itinerary

Our 14 Night Four Centre Costa Brava and Girona Pyrenees itinerary offers you all of the above in one trip. The cost is from £1,855 pp (two sharing), including return flights, 23 kg pp hold luggage allowance, four nights in Setcases with half board, two nights in Santa Pau with breakfast, three nights in Girona with breakfast, five nights in Palamos with breakfast, and car hire throughout.

Santa Pau Santa Pau
Setcases Setcases
Girona Girona
Palamos Palamos
Noel Josephides

By Noel Josephides

13th February 2024



Talk to our Tamariu Llafranc and Calella expert

Noel Josephides
Noel Josephides

Noel is Sunvil’s Chairman. Born in Cyprus in 1948, he joined John der Parthog at Sunvil in 1973. Before that and following university, he spent 3 years as a trainee buyer at C&A Modes and then worked for a large Cypriot builder and property developer for whom he set up a London Office buying electrical components for the Middle East and importing lemons from orchards in Cyprus. He still researches new destinations for Sunvil and is heavily involved in matters relating to the travel industry. He is a previous chairman of ABTA, a long standing director and previous chairman of The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) and former chairman of The Travel Foundation - the travel industry’s sustainability charity.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

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  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
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  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774
  • Marketing: 020 8758 4731

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